Pro-Israel Event Beefing Up Security Ahead of Jon Voight Appearance

Jon Voight
Austin Hargrave

"When I was young, my dad told me, 'You best not talk about politics or religion,' But what's more important than the way we govern ourselves and our beliefs? What are we going to talk about?" Voight tells The Hollywood Reporter.

The Zionist Organization of America national president says the extra measures are due to additional publicity not a reaction to the Paris terror attacks.

A pro-Israel group hosting actor Jon Voight on Sunday says it has increased its security measures to account for more publicity than it is accustomed to but says published reports saying it considered canceling the $700-a-plate dinner in the wake of the Paris attacks are inaccurate.

"We beefed up security. That's a fact," said Morton Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America, which will hold its event as scheduled at the Grand Hyatt New York. "But we had zero calls from anyone wanting to cancel, and we have had zero threats."

Klein said that due to extra star-power the additional security was in the works prior to the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks that killed at least 129 people in Paris.

"Jon Voight is a famous movie star so more people know about it this year," he said. "There's also two Israeli ambassadors. It's a superstar event. I can't believe it myself. Of course we beefed up security."

Billionaire Las Vegas hotel magnate Sheldon Adelson will give Voight the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson award at the dinner and editor Mort Zuckerman will present the Mort Zuckerman award for outstanding journalism to attorney Alan Dershowitz.

At least one U.S. senator and one congressman will be at the event as well as a Fox News host and other prominent attendees.

Some of the rich and powerful will come with their own security details while the New York Police Department will be on hand as well as many private guards who will be undercover, according to insiders. The proceedings will also be monitored by members of Shin Bet, Israel's secret service.

"It's a pro-Israel event in New York City, so of course we need security," said Klein. "We have demonstrators every year and this year we expect even more Arab and anti-Israel groups with their signs. All the usual nonsense."